Hi Sonja here!

Today I would like to share a quick tip with you about directional shadowing and global lightning.

Shadowing plays a big part in making your elements and layout look more realistic. The most important question to ask is: where’s the light coming from? I always imagine a little light shining over my right shoulder (I don’t know why it is the right shoulder, could be left too, lol!..), but we’ll get to that later.

Let’s start with the basics first: A white background and a flower! Let’s open the layerstyle menu (fx) and then click the bottom option: drop shadow.

I’m going way overboard here with my shadow, just to make my point and so you can see it clearly. I’m using the global light function and set the color of my shadow to black. As you can see, the light is coming from above and the shadow is showing at the bottom of the flower, because the angle of the shadow is set at 90 degrees.

Now, lets put on the little light over my right shoulder..I added another element and moved the angle of the light to -38 degrees, coming from the right bottom corner. Because we have checked the box for global lightning, the shadow for every element on our page will come from the same direction! Neat trick, right?

That’s the theory, now let’s put it into practice. Here’s a layout I made, using Dear Fear, without ANY shadowing (except the pre-made one on the frame):

Because of the shadow on the frame that’s already there, I want the rest of my layout showing the same angle of shadow as my frame. So let’s go back to drop shadow in the layerstyle menu. The global lightning box is still checked. I set my angle to 26 degrees, mimicking the light coming from the top right corner. I also adjusted the color of my shadow to a lighter tone. This makes the shadow much less hard. You can also play around with the opacity, depending on the color of your background (lower the opacity for a lighter background and vice versa).

If you are happy with the result, press enter. Subsequently, ad shadowing to the other layers (leaving the global lightning box checked!). Adjust or play around with the distance and size of the shadow, depending on the subject: flowers make a bigger shadow than a little word strip!

Et voila, the end result!

I hope that makes sense, but you know I’m always open for asking questions! Just let me know!

Hugs, Sonja

P.S. If you don’t have Photoshop, or it doesn’t look quite like you want, you are more then welcome to use my framecluster. Click to download: